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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71140
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have been caught evasion this morning, using a ticket

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I have been caught for fare evasion this morning, using a ticket that was not my own. I was stopped by a revenue protection officer, who took details from me, and mentioned that a letter would be sent to my home for a statement to be prepared from me. I am very worried, as this is the first time this has happened to me, so I need help with how I should respond to the letter - do I accept guilt? I don't want to end up in court with a criminal record...thanks for your help
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,

Thanks for coming back to me -

I guess the most important thing is: what is the worst case scenario, and also when the statement letter is sent to me from Southern Rail, should I admit guilt?

Is this the first time you have done this?
Or just the first time you have been caught?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

First time I have done this, and they actually checked that - both with the police (I have no prior convictions at all) and with Southern Railways (again, I have not done this before). The police said it was a "civil matter", but just confirmed my address details etc.

The police have no idea.
Do you usually buy your own train tickets ? Is there going to be a record of that?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, in the past I have always bought my own tickets normally, and they will be able to check that via my travel card ID, I believe. The ticket I was caught using today was a travel card that was not my own.

You may as well admit it to them. They will be able to prove it from what you have said.
If you write them apologising and explaining that you have not done this previously they may just give you a fixed penalty.
If they do insist upon summonsing you then you can always offer to settle out of court. That is more expensive but it does avoid a conviction.
They will want to check your record though to confirm that you have always paid for train fares before. If that is going to be in your favour then that is helpful.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Jo,

So to clarify:

  • I should admit guilt

  • I should apologise and explain this was a momentary lapse of judgement, and a first time incident (true - and they will have evidence)

  • I should expect a fine, and offer to settle out of court (would much rather do that)

  • One final question - will I get a criminal record if convicted?

Thanks again

If this goes to court you will get a criminal record under the Railway Bylaws.
It is not a recordable offence though so it won't show on your DBS check.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok thank you, ***** ***** reassuring. In your experience, do you think it is likely to go to court? Especially if it's my first offence and I offer to settle?

If I do get a CR, will it affect my getting a mortgage/finance?

There is a chance that it could. It is aggravated by the fact that you were using somebody else's travel card so there was premeditation.
Generally speaking they will consider alternatives though on a first incident.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok great, thanks Jo - I appreciate your help and will remember to give you your rating,

Thanks again,

No problem.
All the best.